Contemporary Romanian Cinema. The History of an Unexpected Miracle, Dominique Nasta

Introduction

  • Entry on Romania in the Handbook of Soviet and East European Films and Filmmakers (1992): “Like Romania itself, Romanian cinema has remained obscure. The sparse international distribution of its films has made it remote and unfamiliar. Until recently, it has been aesthetically insignificant, adhering rigidly to the somehow formulaic necessities imposed by film’s illustrative and ideological function in a totalitarian regime. For the reasons, Romanian cinema has not gained the world stature of other Eastern European cinema. (Roof 1992:309).
  • with Romanian contemporary cinema present for more than a decade at important film festivals over the world , winning prizes and being an identifiable part of  European co-production, distribution and training circuits, the appropriate moment has come to look at Romania’s film history, in an attempt to explain and analyse those aspects that have shaped and made it relatively unique today.
  • directors who have been influential upon development and positioning of Romanian film at home and abroad: Dan Pita, Lucian Pintilie, Mircea Daneliouc, Nae Caranfil, Cristian Mungiu
  • emphasis on both: socio-historical background that has conditioned the emergence of specific trends (e.g. film minimalism) and cinematically significant characteristics of individual works.
  • Balkan and Latin features particular to Romanian films
  • soundtracks often prove as important for decoding a film as visuals

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Cinephilia, Stars, and Film Festivals, Liz Czach

Susan Sontag’s 1996 essay “The Decay of Cinema”

  • Sontag’s lament for cinephilia’s death specifi cally mourns the passing of the conditions necessary for the cinephiliac experience, particularly the demise of the movie theate
  • It is the darkened theater that is the privileged site of the cinephiliac encounter between screen and spectator.
  • Adrian Martin has similarly pointed out, “immersion in the fi lm itself ” is a precondition for the cinephiliac experience

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Precarity

Affective Labor, Michael Hardt

  • focus on the production of affects in our labor and our social practices has often served as a useful ground for anticapitalist projects, in the context of discourses, for instance, on desire or on use-value. Affective labor is itself and directly the constitution of communities and collective subjectivities
  • the productive circuit of affect and value has thus seemed in many respects as an autonomous circuit for the constitutions of subjectivity, alternative to the processes of capitalist valorization

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Neoliberal Subjectivity

What is a dispositif?, Gilles Deleuze

  • Foucault’s philosophy – presented as an analysis of concrete social apparatus = dispositif
  • dispositif = a tangle, a multilinear ensemble; composed of lines each having a different nature -> which follow directions, trace balances which are always off balance, now drawing together and then distancing themselves from one another
  • Knowledge, Power, Subjectivity – the 3 major aspects successively distinguished by Foucault, are series of variables which supplant one another

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Liquid Modernity

Liquid Modernity, Zygmunt Bauman

On Being Light and Liquid

  • While solids have clear spatial dimensions but neutralize the impact, and thus downgrade the significance, of time (effectively resist its flow or render it irrelevant), fluids do not keep to any shape for long and are constantly ready (and prone) to change it; and so for them it is the flow of time that counts, more than the space they happen to occupy: that space, after all, they fill but ‘for a moment’.
  • In a sense, solids cancel time; for liquids, on the contrary, it is mostly time that matters.
  • The extraordinary mobility of fluids is what associates them with the idea of ‘lightness’
  • We associate ‘lightness’ or ‘weightlessness’ with mobility and inconstancy: we know from practice that the lighter we travel the easier and faster we move.

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Why Love Hurts, Eva Illouz

Introduction: The Misery of Love

  • If anything, our contemporary sense of appropriateness would command us to follow the dictates of our heart, not of our social milieu.
  • Second, a battery of experts would now be likely to come to the rescue of a hesitant Catherine (Wuthering Heights) and of Emma’s (Madame Bovary) passionless marriage: psychological counseling, couple therapy, divorce lawyers, mediation specialists, would massively appropriate and adjudicate over the private dilemmas of prospective or bored wives. In the absence of (or in conjunction with) experts’ help, their modern counterparts would have shared the secret of their love with others, most likely female friends, or, at the very least, occasional anonymous friends found on the Internet, thus considerably diminishing the solitude of their passion. Between their desire and their despair, there would have been a thick flow of words, self-analysis, and friendly or expert advice

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Cruel Optimism

Cruel Optimism, Lauren Berlant 

  • object of desire = cluster of promises -> a person, a thing, a situation, a norm, an institution, a text
  • all attachments are optimistic -> not all feel optimistic: one might dread returning to a scene of hunger or longing or the slapstick reiteration of a lover or parent’s typical misrecognition – the surrender to the return to the scene where the object hovers in its potentialities is the operation of optimism as an affective form.
  • “cruel optimism”= a relation of attachment to compromised conditions of possibility
  • cruel – the subjects who have x in their lives might not well endure the loss of their object or scene of desire, even though it’s presence threatens their well-being, because whatever the content of the attachment, the continuity of the form of it provides something of the continuity of the subject’s sense of what it means to keep on living on and look forward to being in the world.

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The Ontology of the Photographic Image, André Bazin; Hugh Gray

  • plastic arts – the practice to embalming the dead = fundamental factor in their creation
  • The evolution, side by side, of art and civilization has relieved the plastic arts of their magic role
  • No one believes any longer in the ontological identity of model and image, but all are agreed that the image helps us to remember the subject and to preserve him from a second spiritual death

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Mediated Intimacy

Intimacy a Special Issue, Lauren Berlant 

  • To intimate is to communicate with the sparest of signs and gestures, and at its root intimacy has the quality of eloquence and brevity. But intimacy also involves an aspiration for a narrative about something shared, a story about both oneself and others that will turn out in a particular way.
  • These relations between desire and therapy, which have become internal to the modern, mass-mediated sense of intimacy, tell us something else about it: intimacy builds worlds; it creates spaces and usurps places meant for other kinds of relation. Its potential failure to stabilize closeness always haunts its persistent activity, making the very attachments deemed to buttress “a life” seem in a state of constant if latent vulnerability.

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Black Skin, White Mask, Fritz Fanon

  • Fanon is the purveyor of the transgressive and traditional truth.  He may yearn for the total transformation of Man and Society, but he speaks most effectively from the uncertain interstices of historical change: from the area of ambivalence between culture and class, from deep within the struggle of psychic representation and social reality.

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